The Roger Ballen in Johannesburg exhibition is running at the Standard Bank Gallery until 31 January 2023. In this mini-retrospective, internationally renowned artist and photographer Roger Ballen invites us to explore Johannesburg transformed through his aesthetic, reshaped by his conscious and subconscious mind, and moulded by years of experience in photography. Born in New York and living in Johannesburg since 1982, Ballen has made the metropolis the exclusive site of his creative production.
Arriving after seminal works such as Boyhood (1979), Dorps (1986) and Platteland (1994), Ballen was no longer traversing the countryside, and his style changed. He placed additional emphasis on the wall as a sort of canvas, as opposed to a backdrop, from which various subaltern characters interact with animals and props such as plumbing pipes, cables, crosses, wires and masks. Where previously his pictures, however troubling, fell firmly into the category of documentary photography, these pictures move into the realms of fiction.
Ballen’s Outland (2001) represented a seismic shift in Ballen’s oeuvre, seeing him abandon his singular approach to documentary photography, which had synthesised only the essential elements from virtuosos such as Paul Strand, Henri Cartier-Bresson and André Kertész. The body of work spanning 1994 to 2000 saw Ballen favour an unpredictable theatricality that sought to transform reality with the camera.
“It wasn’t clear whether people were acting, whether I was directing, or whether they were directing, and I was taking the pictures,” he says of the ambiguity that drove his process. “What was going on in those photographs started to become a little bit more obscure.” Outland points to the coalescence of various elements towards a new aesthetic, one the artist would eventually dub ‘Ballenesque’. The video to Outland, produced in 2015 with Ben Jay Crossman, presents us with Stan, a reprisal of the central character in Ballen’s first film Ill Wind (1972).
Ballen’s subsequent work featured fewer and fewer humans until they completely disappeared from the pictures, yielding space to drawings, animals, a variety of props and dismembered dolls. Shadow Chamber (2005), Boarding House (2009), Asylum of the Birds (2014) and The Theatre of Apparitions (2016) all confirm Ballenesque to comprise a revolving cast of characters, poetically exploring a sense of interiority and the subliminal rather than the accepted reality.
For Roger Ballen in Johannesburg, the artist organises selected works into 4 categories that typify his output over the years: people, animals, drawings and, of late, colour. Regarding the latter, Ballen strives for something in between: a muted approach to colour that retains something of the abstraction of black and white.
What emerges in the process of this compartmentalisation is a new appreciation for just how varied, prodigious and unconventional his approach to artmaking has been. While working within a confined set of restrictions, Ballen has managed to stretch and shock the imagination. As he says, “If you consider yourself an artist, you have to take people to another zone.”
“I have always had a high regard for the exceptional quality of the shows at the Standard Bank Gallery,” Ballen says. “It is one of the most important exhibition spaces in South Africa, and I am very excited to have the opportunity of being part of this noteworthy venue. As my exhibition is about my relationship to Johannesburg, I cannot think of a better place to create this exhibition.”
The show’s curator, Standard Bank Gallery Manager Dr Same Mdluli, concurs. “Ballen’s history as a geologist and photographer, not to mention his long-time residency in the city, means it goes without saying that he is primed to circumnavigate superficiality in his approach to art. Furthermore, the gallery’s central location in a constantly morphing CBD, and the psychological dimension of Ballen’s work—much of it about the city’s hidden worlds—set the stage for unique and layered conversations about what drives us as human beings, how we have interacted with our natural environment and how we read art.”
Exhibition credits and details
Curator: Dr Same Mdluli
Featured artist: Dr Roger Ballen
Dates: 18 October 2022 – 31 January 2023, 8:00am – 4:30pm on weekdays and 8am – 4pm on weekends.
Location: Standard Bank Gallery https://bit.ly/3FGnu8R
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This Mandela Day, Standard Bank is making a commitment to South Africa’s school children when we’ll donate 67 water tanks in 67 minutes to assist draught stricken communities and schools with access to clean water.
We’ll be installing these tanks at Tutuwa nominated schools throughout the rest of the year; starting on 18 July 2022 in Makhanda at 4 schools: Kutliso Daniels, Nathaniel Nyaluza High, CM Vellem Primary School and St Mary’s RC Primary School.
With collaboration and gratitude to the phenomenal work of our partners, who have made this initiative possible, we’d like to extend thanks to the Standard Bank Tutuwa Community Foundation, Standard Bank Arts, as well as Head of Brand at Standard Bank Greig Jerling and the UNBXD team, who have collaborated with us on making Mandela Day 2022 truly special. The brand team not only contributed, but also supplied us with UNBXD artist Kevin De Klerk (aka Muralit) to help paint the first water tank that we are installing at Kuthliso Daniels with a beautiful mural.
We'd also like to thank members of our Eastern Cape provincial teams who have stepped up to assist us in making our Mandela Day idea a reality. Thank you, in particular, to Duane Grobler, Bhongo Bavuma, Heinrich Goliath, Zanele Twala and Vice Chancellor of Rhodes University - Prof. Sizwe Mabizela. We also extend our heartfelt gratitude to Diana Hornby of Rhodes University Community Engagement.
While we, as a bank, are able to invest in water tanks this Mandela Day, we understand that for many individuals, spending money on others for your 67 minutes may not be possible, which is why this year, we are highlighting the fact that you don’t need a big budget to make a big difference.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation, in acknowledgment of the tough financial situation many South Africans have found themselves in, has made the theme of this year’s 67 Minutes 'Do what you can, with what you have, where you are'.
We call on our customers to embrace this philosophy. Let’s capture the true essence of Mandela Day. It is, foremost, about spending time, not spending money. It should reflect the size of your heart, not the size your wallet. To make a difference, you don’t have to be rich. You just need to get involved.
To get you started, here are some suggestions for how to spend your 67 minutes:
Plant a seed to feed your community.
Volunteer for odd jobs at a nursing home or hospice.
Offer to read stories to children at a children’s home.
Get together with your colleagues and make sandwiches to give to people living on the street, and why not sit and have lunch with them while you’re at it?
Organise a fun outing for children in an HIV/Aids programme.
Clean up your local park.
Offer to fix things at a local school or organisation
Collect toys, books or clothes for a children’s home
Offer to attend a high school to speak to students about your career.
Bake cookies and take them to a police station for the police officers.
Blog about a non-profit organisation that needs support.
Offer your skills to an NPO or charity
You can also support these existing initiatives on Mandela Day:
Pack meals at Canal Walk for under-resourced pre-schools through Stop Hunger Now.
Help build a home with Habitat for Humanity.
Take a course to become a Lifeline/Childline or SADAG counsellor.
Donate educational materials to Breadline Africa. .
Find out how to become a mentor at the Beth Uriel House of Light.
For #MandelaDay2022, let’s do what we can, with what we have, where we are. ItCanBe!
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We are so excited to be running 21km with you this Sunday, the 26 June. To both our solo runners and those running in teams, we salute you!
Jo’burgers, we look forward to seeing you at the Wanderers Cricket Club in Illovo from 7am.
7:30 to 8am: Registration
8:15 to 8:30: First leg runners head to starting point
8:30 – 9:20am: First leg (5km)
9:10 – 9:30: Second leg runners head to starting point
9:30 – 10:20am: Second leg (5km)
10:10 – 10:30: Third leg runners head to starting point
10:30 – 11:20am: Third leg (5kms)
11:10 – 11:30: Fourth leg runners head to starting point
11:30 – 12:20: Fourth leg (5kms)
12:30 – 1pm: That’s a wrap
Thank you for running with us at The Wanderers Cricket Club this Sunday morning and helping us raise awareness about our youth and mental health. We are all in it together. #FinanceFitSA
Please join us after the run at The Prawnery in Illovo for a bite.
If you are running from somewhere else in South Africa, please run from 8:30am at the venue of your choice. Send us photos of you and your team running on social media! You can tag @StandardBankZA (Twitter) and @StandardBankSA (Instagram or Facebook). Don’t forget to include #FinanceFitSA.
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There is a lot we can learn about each other financially, whether it’s how to get out of debt, how to budget, how to invest or how to cultivate the attitudes and actions that allow us to take control of our money situation.
As we keep on promoting good financial habits on our weekly Twitter Spaces sessions, we felt we needed to touch on the importance of learning from financial experience.
Whether it’s your own successes and failures or someone else’s, many of us have grown stronger when it comes to the decisions we make financially by learning from our own experience, and also by following in the footsteps of those who have set an example, whether good or bad.
That’s why we’re calling on our followers to talk about their money experiences. It doesn’t matter whether they’re good or bad, examples of your success or failure, whatever your money story is, there’s something to be learned from it.
While some might find it easier to share stories of the success they’ve had financially, we hope to hear about your failures too. Nobody gets through life without at least some financial misses, and these often provide even more teachable moments than the success stories. If you made mistakes financially, have you learned from them, and is there something that the rest of us could learn from them too? We hope we are providing a safe space for you to share how you overcame your financial challenges.
Remember, even the billionaires of this world didn’t become who they are today without making at least some mistakes. The difference between them and the average person may well have been that their failures did not cause them to quit but rather learn from their experience so they could try again the next day and do things a little bit better than before.
Share your money story with #FinanceFitSA.
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To commemorate International Women’s Day, we would like to acknowledge the incredible work done by initiatives throughout South Africa to empower women. Standard Bank has partnered with a number of these initiatives and spearheaded others, with the hope of working towards a society that is gender equal.
The Standard Bank Top Women Awards was founded with the vision of providing tangible support for women in business and is now South Africa’s longest running gender empowerment awards and one of the country’s leading platforms in allowing for the advancement of women in leadership.
#HearHerVoice is an ongoing social media campaign that sees Standard Bank South Africa amplify the voices of women. In August 2021, 3 of South Africa’s top female photographers Andy Mkosi, Alet Pretorius and Saaleha Bamjee told the stories of an assortment of phenomenal women: businesswomen and musicians, artists and entrepreneurs, spiritual leaders and medical professionals.
Then, in November 2021, #HearHerVoice showed solidarity with 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence (GBV) by highlighting the bravery of women who have overcome abusive circumstances and gone on to help other victims of abuse.
Standard Bank partnered with UN Women and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to take a gender-responsive approach to climate-smart agriculture (CSA) in 4 African countries. One of these countries is South Africa, where the project has delivered drought-resistant seeds, organic manure, farming equipment and training on CSA to thousands of women.
Powered by People supports independent producers of responsibly made small-batch goods, the majority of which are women. Standard Bank has partnered with this B2B digital wholesale platform, which has contributed to the creation of thousands of jobs for women. South Africa is 1 of 46 countries represented on the platform.
While important progress has been made on this journey, there is still a long way to go. We commit to continue working towards empowering women in South Africa and to continue supporting organisations and initiatives which do the same.
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With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we’re rolling out a campaign that will win a special place in the hearts of Mzansi’s beautiful people. The timing couldn’t be better, especially for men and women in communities that could really do with a little affection. Introducing #LoveLivesHere, a concept aimed at creating meaningful upliftment. It’s an idea that will urge our faithful following to dig deep and identify the organisations that are truly deserving of some TLC, which of course, Standard Bank will provide in the form of a donation.
Valentine’s Day has always been about red roses and chocolates. We believe we can do something much sweeter. By reaching out to our audience, we’re going to call for stories of people who really show the love in ways that make for a better life for people around them.
We want to know about the school that kept their students supported and together during lockdown. The animal shelter that gave our furry friends a home, even though budgets were tight. Imagine doing something great for them. We’d certainly love to.
We want to know about the group of ladies who give up their time to cook meals for the residents of an old age home buckling under the pressure of financial strain. They deserve to feel the love. And a donation to the old age home will most certainly make everyone fall head over heels.
Love is a very powerful force. And it’s most effective when it’s embraced by everyone. There’s something exceptionally beautiful about showing unconditional love for all of humankind. That’s why we’re already experiencing that wonderful nervousness that people feel just before going on a first date. Only thing is, this is much bigger than two people at a candle-lit dinner. This is about going into communities and making a change in a way that will leave the beneficiaries smitten.
Why? Because #LoveLivesHere
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This new year, as children head back to school, we are reminded of our responsibility to create happier, healthier young South Africans.
That is why we are launching a series of educational cartoons aimed at South African youth, in which we will take serious subject matters and present them in simple ways that young people can understand.
We will be discussing many of the issues that we devoted our social media platforms to in 2021. These issues are close to our heart, and we believe key to creating a better life for South Africans. We are going to step up efforts around making a difference, creating conversation, and offering more support around such issues, rather than forgetting them and letting them fall by the wayside in 2022.
These topics include financial fitness, as first explored in our October 2021 #FinanceFitSA content; #MentalHealthAwareness, an important and often overlooked area of health that we are committed to supporting; leading up to and most importantly of all, the continued battle against gender-based violence in all its forms.
While we rightfully dedicated November 2021 to the #HearHerVoice campaign in solidarity with our annual #16DaysOfActivism against GBV (Gender Based Violence), this year we intend to take this cause further and beyond just one gazette period annually.
You can expect to see cartoons focusing on these three subjects, which we believe have an impact on the lives of all young South Africans. We will be publishing cartoons on aspects of financial fitness such as saving, budgeting and making money; ones focused on various aspects of mental health that may be relevant to young people especially off the back of Matric results being released; and ones focused on highlighting issues linked to GBV in a way that is accessible to children and young adults.
Can we create a better tomorrow by working towards empowering young people to be healthier, happier and more successful?
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As we come out of Dezemba and take off the rose-coloured glasses, we see January with much needed clarity. The new year can signify a fresh start, new opportunities and promises for many, but we also know that it can be an anxiety- and uncertainty-prone time that often also results in increased mental health challenges under financial pressure. Many factors can contribute to this, e.g. looming matric results that have, in the past, caused anxiety amongst teenagers who may not have supportive families and access to adequate mental health facilities.
There is a lot to be grateful for still, so risk optimism!
To realise a joy-filled 2022, free of financial, mental and health worries, we have to make changes, and this may require us to change ourselves because how we get into sticky and undesirable situations is not how we are going to get out of them, but where do we even start, and how can we also extend help to others? Through information. The answer lies in knowing exactly where you are.
How often do you ask yourself how you are really doing? There is no better time than at the beginning of a new year to pat yourself on the back for how far you have come and reflect on how you can influence and manifest a greater and more fulfilling next phase.
First up, know your money post Dezemba
It is Standard Bank’s hope that the #FinanceFitSA tips over the summer period have assisted you in remaining Januworry free. Start by accurately assessing your financial status; this exercise alone can be daunting as you confront your financial habits, but it is an important step that must be undertaken with kindness towards self. It will alleviate anxiety too, so ask yourself simple questions such as:
Did I stick to my budget in December?
If not, what is the difference?
With the balance in my bank account right now, will I realistically afford the remaining monthly expenses?
If you are a parent, what financial commitment is needed towards back-to-school needs?
Second, and just as fundamental, ‘are the kids alright?’
As you know, the bundles of joy in your life can come with their own bundles of expenses. How are you doing? There’s stationery, orientation caps etc. It’s a lot, but you have planned well, and it’s time to reap the rewards of your savings.
Often parents get bogged down with survival mode and taking care of ‘basics’ that we may forget that we are raising real humans. The new year can be filled with all kinds of pressures for growing children. While adults make logical decisions to move house, move cities, change schools etc, we may forget that experience allows us to adjust to change with ease; it can feel like the whole world has been turned upside down by a simple change for a teenager. Making new friends, changing uniform and even new hair rules are a big deal for them.
Check in with your children, talk them through your decisions and make an effort to create excitement around change. It is important that they feel considered and safe. Here are suggested questions and discussion points when communicating change to your children:
Emphasise their importance. ‘We’ve/I’ve thought about how this will impact you…’
How do you feel about this?
What do you think?
How can I help you adjust to the change?
More than 700k South African children wrote their final matric exams in December. With the much-anticipated results, it is the job of the parents and support structures to support the matriculants regardless of results. Creating an environment conducive to happy children builds a healthier future nation. Importantly, we need to keep assessing our readiness for them to start their post basic-education career. Standard Bank has student financial aid tools to assist you in this regard.
Third, and lastly, how is your health and the health of your family?
Did you overdo it in December? Don’t be too hard on yourself; exercise remains a way for us to see how very cable our bodies are to do extraordinary things. Be thankful for a healthy body and do better.
Start with facts, whether it is getting on that scale or using your favourite pair of jeans to assess where you are. It is true that many people neglect their new year’s resolutions by March or even earlier, but it is equally true and proven to work for a lot more people. We encourage you to use this fresh start to write down new fitness goals for yourself, and you can do it with family and/or friends. Accountability buddies in habit building go a long way.
January can indeed be all a medley of experiences and feelings, and awareness of your financial, mental and physical wellness can be catalytic to an amazing 2022.
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While some may consider insurance to be a grudge purchase, it is important to protect your assets and belongings. Whether you need to cover your car, home or household contents, it is vital to understand the terms of your specific insurance policy to avoid any disputes over potential claims.
Here are a few tips to keep your valuables covered:
Buying a car is no small feat, so to ensure that your car is fully covered, do the following:
Make sure that the regular driver, i.e. the person who drives the insured vehicle most often in any given period, is listed on the policy as the regular driver. This is important as the premium is calculated on the risk details of the regular driver.
Specify vehicle accessories or extras that are not standard or factory-fitted, such as roof carriers, canopies and smash-and-grab coating. You may need to pay a separate premium in order for these items to be covered by your policy.
Insure your vehicle for the correct amount. It is your responsibility to update your policy regularly as the value of your vehicle depreciates over time.
Insure your vehicle for the correct class of use; i.e. if your vehicle is used for commercial purposes or to generate business, it must be insured under a commercial insurance policy and not a personal lines policy. Gig work such as Uber or Bolt usage is regarded as commercial use.
For homeowners, keep your most valuable asset protected by doing the following:
Insure your property for the current replacement value, i.e. the cost of rebuilding the entire property and its outbuildings, including removal of debris, architecture and municipal costs.
Do not forget regular maintenance such as cleaning your gutters to avoid debris build-up which may result in water damage to ceilings and other damages.
Regularly inspect wiring to identify faulty or substandard wiring. During a storm, unplug all electronic equipment. Using surge protectors may be beneficial under these circumstances.
Ensure your pets are kept safely on the property to avoid injuries to others outside your home or when you receive visitors. Personal liability expenses can become costly.
To protect your valuable home contents in the event of loss or damage, do the following:
List all of your household contents such as clothing, furniture, tools and electronic devices to ensure that you are covered adequately.
Make sure that your household contents and all moveable items are insured for the current replacement value, i.e. current cost to replace such items, as insurance replaces old items with new items when a loss occurs.
Have the right type of cover for specific items. For example, if you require accidental damage cover, make sure that it is included in your policy.
Specify all items taken out of the property or worn on yourself such as cell phones, jewellery and sporting equipment under the all-risks section of the policy in order to be fully covered.
Lastly, if you have all-risks insurance cover, make sure you do the following:
Keep proofs of purchase in a safe place as you will need them if you claim for specific items.
Evaluate your home contents regularly to ensure they are adequately covered.
Follow these tips and save yourself the time and cost of having to repair or replace your car, home or household valuables yourself.
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Standard Bank Insurance Brokers (Pty) Ltd (Reg. No. 1978/002640/07) is an authorised financial services provider (FSP 224) and part of the Standard Bank Group.
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